In the back of the van it was dark and gloomy. Small chinks of light creeped in through the gaps at the sides of the doors but barely enough to see everyone’s faces. We lined the sides of the van, that is all except for Eric and Louis who sat up front and Louise and Stephen who had been left behind to guard the sensors’ base. Louise had looked a little disgruntled about being told to stay behind and I saw her shoot me a sly look as Jared offered me a helping hand into the van.
Now I sat amongst the others, feeling the bumps and potholes of the road as the van took us to wherever it was we were going. I could see hardly anything and hear next to nothing, apart from the noise of the engine and the subdued chatter of the others. I felt quite disorientated and more than a little tense, now that the air of excitement had muted into something much more somber and serious.
I had been surprised when Nathaniel had opted to sit in the back with us, as he climbed in and took a seat opposite me. He didn’t say much for the first part of the journey apart from a few hushed comments to Jem who sat on his right. These two always seemed in quiet consultation and I wondered if they had a thing going on.
As the journey went on, the chatter dwindled away to nothing and I started to feel the nerves tapping on the inside of my stomach as the tension grew.
“Sarah, do you remember the first time you ever killed a vampire?” Nathaniel suddenly said, his voice soft yet firm as it floated through the gloom. I felt all eyes upon me.
“Um…well yeah sure. It’s not as if its something you can forget,” I said, confused and uncomfortable as to why he was asking me this now.
“Tell us about it.”
“You want me to tell you about the first time I ever killed a vampire?”
“You don’t want to?” Nathaniel’s voice was a challenge. I could sense everyone was waiting to see how this played out. Some of them already considered me a vampire sympathiser. If I said I didn’t want to talk about it, I just knew their opinion of me would be even worse than it already was. But I didn’t want to talk about it. I had never spoke of it to anyone.
I swallowed hard and hesitated, not sure where to start.
“His name was Isaac. I met him and another in a club, I was nineteen. They were members of my…..of Marcus’ den and they persuaded my friends to go back with them. My friends thought it was going to be one big party but it turned out they were to be the entertainment. I couldn’t persuade them not to go. I didn’t know how to tell them, so I watched them leave and then I followed in a cab, but I didn’t have enough money for the fare so I had to get out and walk part of the way.”
I felt my guts churning as I remembered that awful night; images of Lisa’s body rolled up inside that rug, Alex’s face when I found him curled up in the barn, urine staining his jeans and feeling the resistance of Isaac’s flesh as I pushed and pushed the pitchfork deeper and deeper.
“What happened next?” Martha said; soft waves of sympathy and pain emanating from her.
“When I got there it was too late. They had killed my friend Lisa, chucked her body in the cellar like she was nothing, you know? I found my friend Alex locked in the barn. There was another dead girl there, she was just a kid. They’d tortured her and killed her. She had marks all over her body; bite marks, bruising, horrible bruising. My other friend James was nowhere to be found. I discovered later that they’d taken him, kept him like some kind of animal in their cells for two years.”
I stopped, hearing my voice crack in pain at the memory. James, with his oh-so beautiful smile, starved, beaten, bitten and used as nothing but fodder for their sick, twisted games. My heart ached just thinking about him.
“Anyway, Isaac found me with Alex. I had a pitchfork and somehow….I don’t even know how I did it……somehow I managed to stab him with it, got him right in the chest.”
“How did you feel when you did it? When you attacked him?” Nathaniel pressed.
“How did I feel? I don’t know. Like I said, I don’t even know how I did it. I’d never done anything like that before. One minute he was standing there, the next thing I knew, I charged at him with the pitchfork,” I replied, wishing Nathaniel would just let it drop.
“Come on, Sarah,” he urged. “You must know how you felt. You don’t just kill someone without feeling something. There he was; the vampire who had tricked your friends into coming back to the den, the vampire who had helped kill your friend Lisa, who had kidnapped your other friend James. He walks into the barn, with the intention of killing your other friend Alex, and he finds you there. What did he do? What did he say?”
I bit down hard on my lip and clenched my fists, feeling my nails cutting into my palms. As I conjured up the memories, I could hear Isaac’s laughter ringing in my ears.
“He laughed at me,” I said, almost in a whisper. “He didn’t think I would fight him. He said I was a disappointment. So he laughed at me.”
“And how did that make you feel? Humiliated? Angry? What, Sarah?”
“I don’t know!” I snapped. “Why are you asking me this?”
“You do know,” Nathaniel insisted. “You do know, so just say it. Say how it made you feel. Say how it made you feel to have that vampire laugh in your face!”
“I hated him!” I was shouting now. “I hated him so much all I could think of was how much I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to plunge that pitchfork into him again and again and again. I was so angry; furious even and disgusted. So disgusted by the sight of him. Everything about him made me feel sick! He was a monster and he deserved to be treated like one. I ran at him and I just stabbed him with the fork and then I just watched him die.”
Everyone was quiet. Or at least I couldn’t hear them. I couldn’t hear anything save for this insane buzzing raging through my head. I kept my hands locked tight in my lap as I didn’t trust myself not to lash out at someone or something.
“And when he died, did you feel any remorse for your actions?”
“I was horrified by what I had done. I’d never hurt anyone before, let alone killed anyone.”
“That’s not what I asked,” said Nathaniel, “I didn’t ask if you were horrified, of course you were, you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t. But were you remorseful? Did you feel sorry for killing the vampire?”
“No,” I said, through gritted teeth. “I didn’t feel sorry one little bit.”
“Amen, sister,” breathed Robbie.
Nathaniel said nothing, but in the muted light, we locked eyes and I could see the rage that I now felt, mirrored in his face.
The van sped on.
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012